To classic car enthusiasts it's known simply as "Pebble Beach" -- a week-long series of events on California's Monterey Peninsula each August, culminating in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
. There, the world's top car collectors compete for honors and awards that recognize the very finest examples of marques like Ferrari
This year, however, there's a new competition on everyone's radar.
The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award -- put on by the Hong Kong-based Peninsula Hotels chain and Michael Kadoorie, chairman of its parent company, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited -- pits six of the world's most acclaimed models against one another, each vying for the title of "most exceptional" classic car.
For the inaugural event, Kadoorie invited a slew of renowned car enthusiasts, including fashion designer Ralph Lauren
, owner of perhaps the world's finest classic car collection; Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason; Ian Callum, director of design for Jaguar Cars
; and the Earl of March, founder of the Goodwood Festival of Speed
and president of the British Automobile Racing Club
The best of the best
1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS "Goutte d'Eau" Credit: courtesy Jared paul stern
Among the six prize-winning cars competing for the Best of the Best Award were a 1903 Mercedes 60HP Simplex, one of the world's first luxury cars; a 1965 Ferrari 166 P / 206 SP Dino; and a 1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale. (The latter two are widely recognized as some of the most beautiful cars ever built.)
But the winner, dubbed the "most exceptional" classic car in the world, was a 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS "Goutte d'Eau" with coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi. The French model is owned by financier and philanthropist Peter Mullin and his wife, Merle.
"My heart is always with the competition cars", Nick Mason said at the stylish awards gala, referring to the Ferrari and Alfa Romeo.
"But when you see the amount of work that goes into something like the Talbot, which is a bit of a difficult car, that ultimately has to be part of the decision. The owner's ability to curate the car is what makes it the winner."